The promise and peril of iGaming for brick-and-mortar casino operators was a common theme touched upon by Las Vegas Sands Chairman and CEO Sheldon Adelson and Wynn Resorts Chairman Steve Wynn during their keynote presentations at Global Gaming Expo (G2E), which took place earlier this month in Las Vegas.
The two self-proclaimed “good friends” and sometime business rivals also addressed the recent downturn of gaming in Macau, casino expansion in Massachusetts, the importance on non-gaming amenities at resorts and a host of other industry-related topics. They also reminisced about their rise to prominence in the casino industry and the lessons they learned from the experience.
Adelson touched on his “rags to riches” story, and spoke of his entry into the gaming industry from trade shows. He attributed his success to, “Finding out what an industry does…and then being enough of a risk taker to actually do it differently.” He said people doubted him because, “They were satisfied with the status quo and I’m never satisfied with the status quo.”
Wynn particularly spoke about his excitement for Boston, and both keynote speakers touched on their optimism for Macau and the rest of Asia’s future.
“My view is that everything that I’ve seen happen in the last 13 years, when I was first exposed to Macau, is cyclical. It comes and goes… it’s like gambling. You start off at a baseline, sometime you’re up, sometimes you’re down” Adelson said.
When asked about online gaming, Wynn said his beliefs on the matter are very much in line with Adelson’s, who has spoken candidly about his opposition in the past. He pointed out the consequences and said that, “It’s a tax target. Legislators have nothing to gain from voting for Internet gaming. When something goes wrong, they’ll be to blame. Regulators will eventually have to jump in and throw new rules on the backs of everyone including gaming executives not involved in Internet gaming.”
When asked to speak of his known iGaming opposition, Adelson said “I lose patience with it. I’ve talked to regulators in [Nevada] and I’ve said to them, ‘Tell me one regulation that we live by in land-based gaming that they could enforce on Internet?’ They couldn’t come up with one.”
One element continuously touched on in both speeches was how the gaming industry is ever-changing, and the importance of developing non-gaming elements to ensure successful performance even during the downturns.
“It’s always been that the non-casino story was the story,” Wynn said. “It’s about things that give people the chance to live big…and if you give it to them you’re going to be okay. And if you forget it, you’re just a passenger on the bumpy road of economic cycles.”